ASX closes 0.13% higher as Bitcoin spikes and China lifts coal ban

Market Reports

by Peter Milios

At the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 was 0.13 per cent higher at 7,511.6.

Bitcoin hit its highest point since August due to investor interpretation of Fed Chairman Powell's comments on inflation as a sign of a less harsh monetary policy. This caused it to rise 2.4 per cent to US$24,020. The wider crypto market also saw gains, with a 37 per cent increase in the top 100 digital assets this year, due to Powell's indication of a "couple" of interest rate rises before the Fed puts its tightening campaign on hold.

To commodity news, the first shipment of Australian coal to China since a 2.5-year unofficial ban is expected to arrive next week with five ships en route. One shipment of 134,800 tonnes of thermal coal has already arrived in Fujian, and another shipment of 72,000 tonnes of coking coal for Baosteel is expected in Guangdong on February 8.

And iron ore shipments from Australia totaled 17.8 million tonnes in the week ending January 20, with Port Headland shipping 10.6 million of the total. Shipments increased slightly to 17.9 million tonnes in the following week. Despite the shipment, shares in BHP were down 0.6 per cent, Rio Tinto dropped 1.8 per cent while Fortescue Metals edged up 0.1 per cent.


The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a fall of 39 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a rise of 15.25 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a rise of 126.25 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 9 points when the market next opens.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector was Information Technology, up 3.15 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Energy, down 0.89 per cent.

The best-performing large cap was Xero (ASX:XRO), closing 7.47 per cent higher at $82.60. It was followed by shares in WiseTech Global (ASX:WTC) and Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN).

The worst-performing large cap was QBE Insurance Group (ASX:QBE), closing 4.76 per cent lower at $13.20. It was followed by shares in Computershare (ASX:CPU) and Rio Tinto Group (ASX:RIO).

Asian news

Japan's Nikkei has gained 0.26 per cent.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng has gained 0.41 per cent.
China's Shanghai Composite has gained 2.00 per cent.

Company news

Buy now, pay later platform Splitit (ASX:SPT) has signed a partnership agreement with Ingenico, to create the first one-touch instalment solution embedded into physical POS terminals. In response, Nandan Sheth, Splitit CEO states, “the Ingenico and Splitit solution prevents checkout delays and reduces abandoned sales by providing a seamless experience for card holders.” Shares closed 2.6 per cents at 20 cents.

European Metals Holdings (ASX:EMH) announced that DRA Global has been appointed to complete the DFS for their project in the Czech Republic, with a view to completion of the DFS in Q4 2023. In response, Executive Chairman Keith Coughlan said, “We are pleased to have secured a company of DRA’s calibre, with a proven track record of delivering critical pieces of work like the Cinovec DFS in a timely and efficient manner.” Shares closed 0.7per cent higher at 70 cents.

Imugene’s (ASX:IMU) VAXINIA trial advances to Combination Cohort 1 and Monotherapy Cohort 3. Imugene MD & CEO Leslie Chong said: “Early data arising from our patients dosed at low levels with our CF33 oncolytic virus have indicated immune activation is occurring in the tumour microenvironment, turning the tumour from ‘immunologically cold to hot’. Shares closed 1.8 per cent higher at 14.3 cents.

Alchemy Resources (ASX:ALY) gravity survey shows an extensive system under cover of pegmatites at their project in WA. In response, Chief Executive Officer Mr James Wilson commented, “The learnings and knowledge gained from this survey will be used to help map out pegmatites at our other high priority lithium targets at Karonie. we are excited to begin using gravity and high resolution drone magnetics technology to aid in mapping out the pegmatite system to the north.” Shares closed 18.8 per cent higher at 1.9 cents.

ABx Group (ASX:ABX) has received positive results from its desorption tests on rare earth element samples in northern Tasmania, with extractions ranging from 24 per cent to 83 per cent. The tests confirmed the presence of ionic adsorption clay REE deposits in the Deep Leads and Rubble Mound areas, with the highest reported extractions being the highest from a clay-hosted REE prospect in Australia. ABx CEO and Managing Director, Mark Cooksey, commented, “It is extremely pleasing to confirm that there is widespread ionic adsorption clay rare earths at Deep Leads and Rubble Mound.” Shares closed flat at 12 cents.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,953.50 an ounce.
Iron ore is 2.25 per cent lower at US$126.70 a tonne.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a 0.4 per cent fall.
Light crude is trading $0.77 higher at US$77.18 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.46 US cents.

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